Andy Henderson is standing in the meat locker, smiling.
"I like to come in here at night and just take deep breaths and relax," says the chef, surrounded by the nose-tickling funk of smoked sausages and curing pork bellies.
Housed in a timber-framed 6,000-square-foot warehouse, it's the kind of brewery-restaurant that has a lot of everything for everyone. There are 40-plus beers on tap--house pours like the Peanut Butter & Jelly or Lord Proprietor's Mild (an ale brewed with tea from Charleston Tea Plantation) as well as an outside roster ranging from Switzerland and Scandinavia to Kentucky Ryed Chiquen from Louisville's Against the Grain brewery.
Not in the mood for beer? Order The Red Wedding, head bartender Jayce McConnell's take on bourbon and sweet tea--a combination, he notes, usually enjoyed in the South in "big Styrofoam cups at a baseball game." This one's more elegant: Elijah Craig 12-year-old bourbon, Averna and ice cubes made of hibiscus and sweet tea that ingeniously flavor the drink as they melt (see the recipe).
Henderson, who grew up in Charleston and worked in Mike Lata's FIG there before heading to San Francisco, isn't shy about challenging what constitutes brewpub grub. "Bolognese on steroids minus the tomato" is how he describes his chicken gizzard and duck heart tagliatelle.
We liked his pickled shrimp with toasted rye bread and aioli so much we asked for the recipe (see the recipe). It's bright and crunchy, sweet and salty--a perfect distillation of an approach to food Henderson calls "Southern meets Californian."